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The intentional mentor: Effective mentorship of undergraduate science students

The author of this paper, Julio Ramirez, is a 2009 PAESMEM recipient.

Abstract: Promoting quality mentorship of undergraduate science students has recently emerged as an important strategy for successfully recruiting and retaining students in the sciences. Although numerous faculty members are naturally gifted mentors, most faculty are inserted into a mentorship role with little, if any, training. Successfully mentoring undergraduate science students requires a myriad of skills that can be honed with forethought and practice. In this essay, the value of mentoring, the developmental profile of young adult students, and the traits of a good mentor are explored. The Triangular Model proposed by W. Brad Johnson provides a theoretical framework for the development of effective mentorship. Fifteen tips gleaned from the literature and the author’s personal experience are provided to help improve mentoring skills of faculty working with undergraduate science students.